Walks are underrated. Many people don’t understand the healing power of movement. In Vilcabamba, home of the some of the oldest and healthiest people on earth, there’s a saying: “each of us has two doctors – Dr. Left Leg and Dr. Right Leg.”
I don’t think that’s too far off.
Recently, I’ve become more aware of the fact that it’s almost impossible for me to stay focused and productive if I don’t take the time to move briefly multiple times per day. When I’m still for too long, my brain shuts off.
One day without movement and I resemble a stressed out schizophrenic with ADHD. I can’t seem to focus, think, or be productive, and I just don’t feel good.
15 minutes into my movement or training session and my mind feels more creative and focused and ideas seem to be falling from the heavens.
Anyway, walking is great, but it can also be boring if you’re used to more engaging movement sessions.
Enter: The Exploration Walk.
I’ve been taking exploration walks lately after being struck with inspiration during one of my movement sessions.
An exploration walk is an unstructured exploration of your local geography – with a twist.
But first, you need to have some tools in the toolbox and an eye for obstacles.
What are the movement tools for your Exploration Walk?
- Lifting + Carrying
- Throwing + catching
Some things to avoid:
- Destruction of property
- Breaking laws
- Being stupid
- Injuring yourself or others
Consider the Exploration Walk as an unstructured, improvisational, exploratory movement session. The goal is to find interesting and useful obstacles and solve the movement puzzle it presents to you.
The Exploration Walk is not parkour, and it’s not a skill session, although there is some overlap. Those things are great and have their place, but this walk should be a time to explore and express your movement intelligence more than building it.
How to Take an Exploration Walk (Scroll to the bottom to check out my demo exploration walk)
- Begin your walk. Anywhere will work. (If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, close your eyes, spin around 10-15 times, and whatever direction you’re facing is the direction you have to travel.)
- Once you spot an object that looks interesting, SPRINT to it.
- Do as many of the following as you can in, on, or around the object: climb, balance, invert, crawl.
- Look for objects and opportunities to challenge your strength, coordination, balance, etc.
- Explore for at least 10 minutes, and look for a minimum of 5-10 objects.
- Aim to move fluidly between objects and movement patterns. Transitions are hugely valuable.
This isn’t just about the physical experience…although that’s important.
It’s about seeing the environment around you with new eyes. It’s about mental and physical creativity. It’s about perception, foresight, decision-making, improvisation, and adaptation – both physically and mentally.
In the next few days, I’ll be writing about the differences between training and movement, but it basically boils down to this:
Train like a scientist, move like an artist.
Enjoy your adventure walk. Leave everything better than you found it.